Star Twinkle Precure – 11-25 Episode Check-in

Star Twinkle Precure – 5 Episode Check-In
Star Twinkle Precure – 6-10 Episode Check-In

It’s been a while! Let’s see how Precure’s evolved, shall we?

Well, it’s as multicultural as ever. A major component that continues to be explored is the different ways in which people live, and so it makes sense we introduced yet another non-human Precure – the intergalactic thief-cum-idol, Uni – and also get to explore the way different people live on Earth. While Uni’s development has taken a major chunk in the past 7 or 8 episodes, I want to focus on what it was like before she… may have taken over for a bit, to the detriment of others.

Lala continues to have to learn the ways in which people live on Earth, culminating in the hard-hitting episode of her transferring to the other girl’s school. The group are extremely supportive, but she worries that her differences are making her weird and unapproachable. She tries extra hard to fit in, losing all of her gimmicky traits. I really liked the message of this episode, even if it was quite schmaltzy, because it reiterated the core theme of the series: celebrate your differences. Lala is weird to her classmates, but that’s what they like about her. She’s also bad at maths, but that’s another aspect of the show tackling privilege in its own way – which we’ll get to a little later. Elena’s Mexican heritage is something that takes some major focus, too, and once again mirrors Lun’s episode – differences exist, and while they might be weird and alienating to other cultures, they’re what makes us who we are and that’s something to cherish. Star Twinkle Precure isn’t exactly subtle, and the constant bonking over the head with its ideas is equal parts repetitive and reiterative that on the whole is an appreciable message.

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The other side of the coin of our differences is understanding our privileges, and Madoka is the primary way in which this is measured. It’s contrasted occasionally with how certain characters are less privileged, for example, in Elena having to look after her family; Uni’s need to steal – but it’s really important for the show to tackle, and show understanding of, the ways in which we have things that others do not. I’m giving a passing grade on this one, because it prefers to dwell moreso on the differences in lifestyles, for example, showing the many responsibilities that Madoka has. A recent episode showed her feeling angst over winning a piano competition when another girl lost, but this episode ultimately got a little distracted from that concept, and just wanted to show Madoka that music can be fun, and a similar thing happened in her archery episode. Bringing her out of her shell is the developmental easy road, so I don’t mind Star Twinkle taking it, though it keeps setting up to tackle the harder concept.

I should really talk about the new cure, Uni. She’s got this cutesy cat-tick and cat ears, but she regularly contrasts that image; even aside from her deep voice, Uni is without a doubt the most independent of the Cures. Her backstory is a little bit of a sympathy generator, but it was built-up well with her current character coming across strongly. She’s cunning and determinant to a fault, such that her desire for her goal leads her to this absorbing self-determination. Trying to open her up and be allowed to rely on the others is an important aspect of the show recently, and I love how Star Twinkle actually uses its combat to notify us of her ego – notice how she takes almost all of the big finishers? The cast play up to her ego by offering her pens and letting her Rainbow Perfume every single big bad, even when it’s their own episode at stake, because her proficiency and strength is undeniable. She hasn’t joined in on a big power attack that the others have, mind you, but I presume that’ll change in the next 10-15 episodes.

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Now, let’s get onto the bad guys. There’s been a lot of smallish developments for them. Darknest, their leader, has been revived and is desperately searching for power in the Pens. Well, that’s not much of a development. Aiwarn’s subordinate was revealed to be a disguised Uni (see? she’s great), and this development ended up in her turning into a Notrigger herself. The team vowed to save her, which displeased her hedgehog-like ego, but it’s notable that she didn’t return to Darknest with Kappard, because she was controlled by Darknest and had a large chunk of her original self destroyed. She stole Uni’s ship, meaning Uni had no choice but to go with the other girls, but Aiwarn’s location is now a mystery. Will she return? I don’t know. All I do know is that the bad guys are currently in a goonish frenzy, aimlessly attacking the girls one-by-one, and I welcome the next big battle.

During the last big battles, Star Twinkle Precure strutted its stuff with the giant sakuga animation, but it was fairly mediocre in framing and timing. Prior years’ Precures have been visual events, and while Precure is at least a decent affair, it disappoints compared to the standard. Many of the big attacks seem to have just a little bit much padding too, and there’s many pans and stills as well. Throw in the continued reused music from last year’s Hugtto and Star Twinkle might feel like a big step down, both audiovisually and thematically.

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Still, Star Twinkle is a lot of fun – that’s remained. It still often watches like a cute-girls-do-cute-things show, particularly during the festival sequence and some episodic moments where the gimmicks of its girls are really extracted, and the comic chops are often rather hilarious in their ability to use the sci-fi setting in loving ways. The show moves between light-hearted and more serious really well, though, and that’s something I’ve got to give credit for. The show has imagination and a good deal of spunk, and put simply, the amount of digging into its ideas and characters, while shallow at times, feels just right to be easily consumable and fun.

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